Pakatan announces alternative N-day theme
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 ― The federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) today announced “Sebangsa, Senegara, Sejiwa (One nation, one country, one soul)” as its proposed alternative National Day theme, after having called for suggestions from the public last Friday.
The winning entry out of over 250 suggestions was sent in by Alhaimi Adam, with his slogan being “Senegara Sebangsa Sehati Sejiwa (One country, one nation, one heart, one soul)”.
The selection was made by a committee chaired by national laureate A. Samad Said, with the members being former minister Tan Sri Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon, women’s rights activist Ivy Josiah, and ex-Suhakam commissioner Tan Sri Simon Sipaun.
“We must start with bangsa (nation), the nation builds the country. Nation and country must be sejiwa (one soul),” said A. Samad Said, saying that the committee had summarised the winning slogan.
PR today also asked Malaysians to send in their suggestions for an alternative National Day logo and theme song.
Suggestions are to be emailed to [email protected] by this Sunday.
The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition had chosen “Janji Ditepati (Promises Fulfilled)” as the theme for this year’s National Day celebrations, a move that drew intense criticism from the opposition and Malaysians.
PR leaders accused the BN government of hijacking National Day celebrations for its own political campaign.
They also accused BN of using the theme to abuse government machinery for political campaigning purposes.
Last Friday, Information Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim had defended the National Day celebrations theme on Twitter, pointing out that “everything can look bad if the mind is closed”.
“Malaysia has truly arrived as an achieving nation after 55 years of independence. Why can’t we say janji ditepati?” he said in response to growing criticisms against the theme for mirroring the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) political campaign theme ahead of the next general election expected soon.
Rais, who is in charge of the ministry responsible for the theme, has been forced to defend the selection of the theme ahead of what is going to be the most keenly contested elections in recent history.
But similar criticism also forced Rais’ ministry to publicly abandon the national day logo last week, which shared the “Janji ditepati” theme with the larger celebration.
Past themes have been variations of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia agenda, including “Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan” (People First, Performance Now) and “1 Malaysia Menjana Transformasi” (1 Malaysia Driving Transformation).
National Day celebrations before Najib took over in 2009 appeared more focused on the message of unity, with the 2008 theme being “Perpaduan Teras Kejayaan” (Unity is the Core of Success).
The country’s sixth prime minister has also been touring the country under the Jelajah Janji Ditepati (Promises Fulfilled Tour) organised by TV3, the main station of private broadcaster Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd (STMB) that is linked to his Umno party.
The tour is part of a campaign to remind voters that his administration has carried out its pledges since he took office in April 2009.
Najib is bidding for his own mandate at the polls after he took over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a year after Election 2008.